marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

The oldest known image of a swing is a pot from Minoan Crete, showing a girl swinging.

Victorian bobbies could expect to rise steadily except if they were sacked for being drunk on duty -- and many were.

One influence on Ferdinand von Zeppelin was his visit to the Balloon Corps of the Union Army, which had engaged in surveillance work from a large height while being tethered to boats.

The first known use of the term "ottoman" in English was when Thomas Jefferson noted down paying for one.

Vaudeville made use of "gold-brick" acts, such as opera singers or famous actors, and enormous and expensive palaces, to advertise their respectable status. Less grand and expensive ones advertised a "family" places, meaning not only respectable but somewhere you could afford to bring the family. Meanwhile, criminal celebrities were also very popular, out of jail and enacting their crimes on stage.

Many 19th century landscape artists regarded the study of geology as fundamental to their art as anatomy was to figure painting. American artists, such as the Hudson River School, got jobs going on surveys to document the survey pictorially.

Novgorod had a Plague Bell, so called because it rang out the warning when there was plague.

Prior to the 20th century, American presidents did not leave the country during their term of office. The only exception was when Chester Arthur went on a fishing trip, and the fish were not biting in American waters. (But he didn't actually set foot on Canadian soil.)

The British Trial of the Pyx, still performed as it has been from the 13th century, is a test of the quality of the kingdom's coins. There was a time when it was serious business, because of the temptations to the Keeper of the Mint to profit by stinting.

The Chinese term for a folding stool was "barbarian bed" -- after the piece of furniture they had that was most like it.

American theater in the 19th century was originally a mixed-class thing, but started to separate itself with more expensive tickets, costing a dollar, filtering the poor out. By the end of it, however, theaters started being "ten-twenty-thirties" (the possible prices) to attract the classes again. They had, however, imposed standards of respectable appearance.

In the late Bronze Age, gold, lapis lazuli, and tin were all considered equal in value -- you traded one for an equal weight of the other.
Tags: historical tidbits

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